School trips are not a walk in the park. Taking the students outside of the classroom, into the big wide world, is a daunting task. You can sense the excitement as the pupils don their jackets, choose their coach partner and bounce up and down, eagerly waiting to step foot outside of the school gates. Whether you’re taking them to a stamp museum or a theme park, there is a purpose to the trip and that is to learn.
If the students know that they will gain something from participating in the tasks set on the trip then they will be more inclined to join in. Rewards can range from extra time at lunch for the whole class, a student or group exempt from the next task, sweets (check for allergies before handing out), stationary or extra stars or stickers on a reward system, back in the classroom.
Allow your students to work in groups between 3 and 5. The group can support each other in understanding the task on hand. The social interaction will keep the students mind from thinking about what is for dinner that evening. Reward the first group to complete a set task or the group with the most correct answers. This will encourage all groups to work speedy and pay attention.
Keep the students occupied throughout their journey by filling in a chronological task sheet throughout the trip. The task sheet will help them learn and pay attention to little details they may otherwise skim over.
Students itch to talk and interact as listening constantly can get tedious. Allow time between tasks, talks or activities to reflect on what they have just learnt. It is quite predictable that some of the conversation between students may tail off to the latest video game, but it is better for them to talk during the discussion period, rather than talking during tasks.
Question and Answer
A ten minute question and answer session at the end of the trip can round off a long day. Encourage even the shyest of pupils to ask a question or even answer a question themselves.
At the end of a long day and you’re back in the classroom reflecting on the exciting new knowledge you’ve discovered and praise the children with positive feedback on their behaviour. Rewarding students will make them feel proud of themselves and are more likely to focus on the next school trip.
What is the most effective reward system you have used to keep children focused?